adhyātmavidyā

(‘science pertaining to the Self within’)

The Hindu sages have always advocated mokṣa (liberation from transmi-gration) as the parama-puruṣārtha (the highest goal to be achieved by man) and have recommended adhyātmavidyā as the means of achieving it. Adhyātmavidyā is the science that leads one to the realization of the Self within. It is the knowledge and wisdom taught in the Upaniṣads, the Bhagavadgītā and other works which follow them. A study of these books under enlightened teachers will lead to a clear understanding of the ātman or the Self and meditation on this understanding will ultimately lead to realization. Parā-vidyā and brahmavidyā are other words often used as synonyms for this. It is the highest knowledge and the only one worth seeking in life. Hence in the Bhagavadgītā, Lord Kṛṣṇa goes to the extent of identifying himself with it (vide 10.31).